Habakkuk 3 is a prayer of praise to God. Habakkuk has had a back and forth conversation with God and even though he’s had his questions about what was going on, God has answered his concerns. Habakkuk is reminded of God’s greatness and his faith would appear to be strengthened by his greater knowledge of God’s plans.
Many times we wonder what God has in store for us. We wonder what purpose a certain difficulty in our life serves. Often we never know why God allowed something to happen but there are occasional events in our life where we can look back and see that God absolutely had a plan and our life might be dramatically worse if His plan wasn’t followed.
Habakkuk has the benefit of realizing with without having to look back at the event with hindsight. Instead, God has revealed His plans and Habakkuk can praise Him in advance because it will assuredly happen.
There are some parallels between Habakkuk 3 and the closing chapters of the book of Job. Job struggled with God’s plan and ultimately wants God to answer why things are the way they are. God confronts Job by challenging him to answer the questions of nature. Ultimately Job has to recognize the power of God and understand that God’s ways are beyond question.
Habakkuk reaches that conclusion as well. Rather than needing God to explain His power in nature, Habakkuk praises God for His power. Much of the chapter metaphorically discusses how God will overthrow the Babylonians because of their wickedness.
Habakkuk signals his acceptance of God’s plans. Even though that plan is the destruction of his own kingdom and people, he praises God for it. Even though this comes at the hands of an even more wicked nation, he accepts it because he knows God will hold them accountable for their sins as well.
Habakkuk 3:16-19 closes the book with a beautiful acceptance of God’s greatness.
I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.